Release Day Review: Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

Lost and Found Sisters
Series: Wildstone, #1
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes her first women’s fiction novel—an unforgettable story of friendship, love, family, and sisterhood—perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover, Susan Mallery, and Kristan Higgins.

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.


I’m a big Jill Shalvis fan. She’s the first contemporary romance author I read who incorporated humor into her novels. I love how she’s always able to mix witty banter with intense sexual chemistry. It’s always exciting to read each new release of hers. I was especially excited to find out she was beginning a new series with Lost and Found Sisters.

Lost and Found Sisters was a little different from other novels I’ve read by Jill Shalvis. It almost had more of a women’s fiction feel to it than a contemporary romance. There were so many different levels to the story. First, there was Quinn coming to terms with the loss of her sister and where she was in life at age thirty. Second, there was Quinn’s discovery of a past she had no idea existed. Third, there was a possible romance between Quinn and the handsome stranger Mick. The majority of the story was focused on what Quinn wanted out of life and how she came to her decision. The romance was secondary to that.

Quinn was an easy character for me to identify with. I can’t go into why too much because I don’t want to give away any surprises, but she and I had something in common. Her surprise wasn’t something I’ve had to go through, but I was able to empathize with her because I could imagine going through the same thing. I’m just happy she had the adorably sexy Mick to help her through it all.

Mick was one of the good guys. His maturity was sexy. He knew what he wanted out of life, but wasn’t scared to make a change when an unexpected opportunity came his way. His relationship with Quinn may have had its ups and down, but his unwavering support of Quinn was sweet.

I loved all of the secondary characters in this book. Each was special to the story and Quinn in some way. Surprisingly, Lena was my favorite. She might have been Quinn’s nemesis at first, but she had so much personality! I am hoping Lena gets her own book. I would love to see how things work out for her and Boomer.

The only thing I missed in Lost and Found Sisters was Shalvis’ trademark humor. There were moments of it, but they weren’t as continuous as in some of her other novels. I also missed the romance being front and center in the story. I wanted a little bit more sexiness in the story. I’m hoping as the series goes on, those things get worked more into the next books.

Overall, Lost and Found Sisters was a very enjoyable read. It was filled with an amazing setting, lovable characters and a whole lot of heart. Lost and Found Sisters would be the perfect book to take to the beach or on any other of your summertime adventures.

Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Mystery, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.


Why did I wait so long to read this book? It’s been on my TBR ever since it came out. I got it from the library once, but ran out of time to read it. I’m so disappointed in myself because Big Little Lies is a masterpiece. I really need to thank my friend who chose it for our book club read. She forced me to pick it up, and I will be forever thankful.

Big Little Lies was flawlessly written. It kept me guessing the entire time I was reading.  I could never quite figure out how everything was going to all play out. It drove me a little nuts because so many of the revelations aren’t made until the end. All my guesses were wrong. Each twist and turn had me gasping and reading faster.

What wasn’t flawless in this story were the characters. Each had his or her imperfections. Some were instantly likable, and they had my instant sympathy. Others were annoying. A couple were down right detestable. When it all came down to it, how I felt about the characters didn’t matter. All that mattered was how they were wrapped up in what happened. Each character was perfect for Big Little Lies.

Big Little Lies was a constantly shifting story that explored several different issues. I loved how each issue was woven into the story and the mystery of it. It was an amazing read, and I highly recommend reading it. I really want to watch the new television adaptation of Big Little Lies now!

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction; Romance; LGBT+
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From Taylor Jenkins Reid, “a genius when it comes to stories about life and love” (Redbook), comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for “creating complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.


Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author I’ve always wanted to read a book by but hadn’t yet. I was very excited to get to read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and experience her writing. I had heard such great things about her books.

I was a little nervous about reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo because a couple of my trusted blogger friends were not impressed by it. After reading it, I can understand why this book may not be for some readers. It’s filled with uncomfortable situations and moments. Evelyn was unabashedly candid in the telling of her life story. She was unapologetic about the people she hurt or wronged. Some, if not all, of her decisions will disgust some readers. Evelyn was simply unlikable.

I wasn’t a fan of Evelyn’s, but I did appreciate her story. The methods she used to get what she wanted were brash, but she acknowledged that. Everything she did, right or wrong, made for an interesting tale. I wasn’t put off by most of her actions. I liked how they led to and explained her seven husbands. I truly enjoyed the journey through Evelyn’s life and loves.

Monique wasn’t much of a character at first. Her story loosely wove around Evelyn’s, and I also found it hard to like her. I don’t know that I ever ended up liking her, but I did end up respecting her. The things she learned about Evelyn and from Evelyn were profound. I loved that she put to use what she learned.

From the book blurb, the reader knows going into the story that Evelyn and Monique’s lives intertwine in some way. I never could have guessed how. It was definitely a twist I didn’t see coming. It was perfect and I really like what it did to the story line. It made the ending all that more perfect.

I may not have fallen in love with the characters of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but I was mesmerized by the story. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer capable of weaving a multifaceted tale. I loved her writing style, and I am looking forward to reading her other books.

Review: The Guests on South Battery by Karen White

30068929The Guests of South Battery
Series: Tradd Street, #5
Author: Karen White
Publication Date: January 10, 2016
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Mystery, Historical, Romance, Fiction
Note: I received an ARC from Berkley via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Karen White invites you to explore the brick-walked streets of Charleston, where historic mansions house the memories of years gone by, and restless spirits refuse to fade away…

With her extended maternity leave at its end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for more than a year are about to invade her life once more.

But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell hers as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission.

Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can’t deny that spirits—both malevolent and benign—have started to show themselves to her again. One is shrouded from sight, but appears whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in Melanie’s backyard on Tradd Street.

Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried….


I was excited when I heard Karen White was going to be continuing her Tradd Street series. I was sure the fourth book, Return to Tradd Street, was going to be the end. That made me so sad because I loved every minute of this quirky series. Luckily, I was wrong!

The minute I began The Guests on South Battery, I was immediately sucked back into Melanie Middleton Trenholm’s world. It was fun to be back in her uptight mind, traversing around downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Despite getting married and having twins, Melanie hadn’t changed much. She still had her insecurities and anal-retentive compulsions. I enjoyed seeing how Jack, her husband, dealt with them. Their relationship was changing and progressing throughout the entire story and I loved that a lot.

I also loved how Karen White brought back all of my favorite characters from the entire series. She gave them each the perfect part in this story. There were also some great new characters introduced. They added some cool twists to the mystery of the story and brought a new depth to the recurring characters and their histories. I especially liked Jayne and her role in The Guests on South Battery.

My favorite thing about The Guests on South Battery, though; was the mystery of the story. I was fascinated by Jayne randomly inheriting the house on South Battery. I was dying to know why the previous owner chose her the entire time I was reading. I knew the ghosts inhabiting the house were somehow involved in the answer, but I never would have guessed why.

My only little issue with The Guests of South Battery was Melanie’s insecurity surrounding her post-baby life. She’s always been insecure, but there was denial she was going through that was a little odd. I didn’t like the way those around her acted about it. They were all controlling a part of her life and I didn’t really understand why. It was almost like I was missing a piece of their interactions or something. It didn’t make me dislike the book, but I just found it a bit…odd.

Once again, Karen White has written a beautifully crafted mystery. I truly loved reading The Ghosts on South Battery and being back in Charleston with the Middletons and the Trenholms. It was such a fun ghost story/romance/mystery. I especially loved the ending and how I felt that it left things open for the possibilities of more books in the series. I highly recommend the entire Tradd Street series to readers who like mysteries with a historical touch.

Review: Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

6096187Good in Bed
Series: Cannie Shapiro, #1
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Publication Date: April 2, 2002
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Note: I received an e-book from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

For twenty-eight years, things have been tripping along nicely for Cannie Shapiro. Sure, her mother has come charging out of the closet, and her father has long since dropped out of her world. But she loves her friends, her rat terrier, Nifkin, and her job as pop culture reporter for The Philadelphia Examiner. She’s even made a tenuous peace with her plus-size body.

But the day she opens up a national women’s magazine and sees the words “Loving a Larger Woman” above her ex-boyfriend’s byline, Cannie is plunged into misery…and the most amazing year of her life. From Philadelphia to Hollywood and back home again, she charts a new course for herself: mourning her losses, facing her past, and figuring out who she is and who she can become.


Good in Bed is a book I jumped at reading when NetGalley sent out an email announcing it was available to download for a day or two. I hadn’t read any of Jennifer Weiner’s books before, but I wanted to. It was the perfect opportunity to try out a new-to-me author.

Sadly, Good in Bed didn’t turn out to be the book I was hoping it would be. From the blurb, Good in Bed sounds like an inspirational story. It wasn’t. Well, maybe the last few chapters were, but the rest of it was complete misery.

While I could completely empathize with Cannie and her entire situation, I didn’t like her. Her poor me attitude throughout the entire story put a damper on the book. I also didn’t like the way she treated people. At one point, I actually considered DNFing the book because I didn’t think I could handle anymore of her.

Another thing I wasn’t fond of in Good in Bed was Cannie’s trip to L.A. It seemed too perfect. Everything was just suddenly handed to her. That entire part of the plot felt out-of-place.

What I did love about Good in Bed was Cannie’s entire relationship with Dr. K. The support and friendship he gave Cannie was really cool. I loved the way their relationship grew over time and changed naturally. Dr. K was a great guy. Honestly, Dr. K is one of the reasons I didn’t give this book 2 stars. He saved it in the end for me.

The other reason Good in Bed got 3 stars is Jennifer Weiner’s writing. While I didn’t like Cannie, I was impressed that her moods influenced my moods. I credit that to great writing. It takes great skills to influence how people feel.

Obviously, I didn’t love this book. It ended up being just okay for me. I think it’s one of those “It’s not you, it’s me.” things because I know this is a very popular book.

Review: Four Days by Jamie Campbell

28578511Four Days
Series: Luci Wijn, #1
Author: Jamie Campbell
Publication Date: October 5, 2015
Publisher: Eltham Press
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

“I knew. I always knew that his hold on me was so close to absolute that it made no odds.”

When your partner, your lover, your coach cheats on you it’s supposed to be easy to end things. It’s supposed to be.

It wasn’t. Not for twenty-four-year-old Luci Wijn. Not even being a world away from that man was far enough to end it.

Luci had long ago given up on having the life she’d planned. On having a career she’d be proud of. In her first season she had come so close to the making the top fifty in Women’s Professional Tennis. So close. But in tennis an inch is a mile and one year counts for nothing in the next.

James Bell was a quiet ride to the airport. He should never have been anything more. Yet Luci’s slide to the bottom of the world ended when she met James.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Four Days is a story of two people who grow a relationship from silence. Two people who become a little less lost by dealing with that silence. Four Days is a book of a hope.


Four Days is unlike any other new adult contemporary sports romance I’ve read. In fact, I wouldn’t necessarily categorize it in that genre. Four Days felt more like it belonged in the women’s fiction genre to me. The focus of the story wasn’t the romance. Yes, Luci did connect with James along the way and a big part of the story was her sport, but that wasn’t what stood out. The focus of Four Days was a meandering journey of self-discovery and healing for Luci.

To be honest, I had a bit of trouble connecting with Luci at the beginning. Four Days was told in her first person narrative and her thoughts drove the story. Luci was very negative about the turns her life had taken, and what should have been a happy time felt depressing. As the story went on, I found Luci to be a very interesting character. She really just needed someone to help raise her confidence and show her there was more for her. I loved that James was that character. His support and desire to help Luci improve brought a lightness to the story. James helped push Luci to attack the challenges in her way. Their connection in the end was sweet and sexy.

My favorite element of Four Days was the setting. The descriptions of New Zealand were beautiful. I felt like I was experiencing Luci and James’ cross country trek myself. Over the four days, New Zealand truly became a character.

Four Days may have not been the contemporary romance I was expecting, but it was a beautifully written story of a woman finding herself, her sport and possibly a new romance again.

Review: Carolina Heart by Virginia Kantra

Carolina Heart
Series: Dare Island, #4.5
Author: Virginia Kantra
Publication Date: July 19, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Determined to leave her wild past behind her, Cynthie Lodge is forging a new life for herself and her daughters—one that’s man-free and drama-free. But not everyone is so eager to let go of the past.

When sexy loner Max Lewis returns to Dare Island, seeing Cynthie again rekindles his feelings for his high school crush. Now he must convince her to take another chance on love.


Carolina Heart was a great addition to Virginia Kantra’s Dare Island series. Despite being a short and sweet novella, it had a big emotional punch. Both Cynthie and Max were trying to move on from their high school labels. Neither could see that they already had. It took falling in love with each other to prove to themselves that they weren’t who they were in high school anymore, they were better versions of themselves.

This novella was a light and easy to read story that was so much fun. It was exactly what I’m looking for when I pick up a contemporary romance. Virginia Kantra’s entire Dare Island series is. I would highly suggest it to adult contemporary romance readers who like a fast-paced and romantic read.